BABADAG TRAINING AREA, Romania- Personnel Recovery (PR) training stresses the preparation of Soldiers to prevent becoming isolated and to know how to respond to an isolating event.
Yesterday the 3-227 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, executed a PR exercise with U.K. service members assigned to the 140th Expeditionary Air Wing and the RAF Regiment, the infantry component of the Royal Air Force.
“This training was a joint exercise with our British partners that primarily focused on the recovery of downed aircrews behind enemy lines,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brian Caslin, standardization pilot with 3-227 AHB. “We held a similar joint mission with the Italians in January this year.”
The training event started with a notionally downed U.S. helicopter and crew in an enemy contested area. The crewmembers' mission was to evade enemy contact to prevent or reduce any strategic advantage an enemy could gain by taking them hostage.
As the U.S. Soldiers moved to the pickup zone, they used combat survivor evader locator (CSEL) radios to communicate with two U.K Typhoon FGR.Mk 4 fighter jets overhead providing security and assistance in the detection of the isolated personnel. At the same time, they were also radioing their British counterparts on the ground performing as the recovery team.
“This training gave us the opportunity to work alongside our allies to build interoperability and test a relatively new skill set for our unit,” explained Capt. Paul Calvert, ground liaison officer with the fighter squadron and 140 Expeditionary Air Wing. “The proximity of international forces at MK is the perfect scenario for joint exercises such as this one today. The realistic training we do together makes NATO stronger and more ready.”
Once U.S. Soldiers reached a hide site near the pickup zone, they used the time waiting for their U.K. counterparts for hands-on training with personal survival equipment components of the Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) that each flight crew member is assigned.
When U.K. forces arrived, they immediately established security around the hide site and searched each isolated U.S. Soldier to identify injuries and clear them as a friendly force.
U.K. Airmen then provided tactical field care based on the notional injuries marked on each U.S. Soldier’s combat casualty card. Once treated, they moved with U.S. Soldiers to the pickup zone to be recovered by UH-60 Black Hawks and eventually reintegrated with their unit.
During the final iteration, an HH-60 MEDEVAC helicopter from C Co, 2-227 General Support Aviation Battalion was used to hoist “injured” personnel, demonstrating the rescue capabilities of the aircraft and crew.
The training event covered several critical Soldier skills such as land navigation, radio communications, combat life saving techniques, and reaction to contact. Beyond the tactical training on the ground, it also evaluated and validated the tactics, techniques and procedures of the battalion staff to track and assist recovery efforts.
PR training is an annual requirement for Army aviation units to mitigate risk incurred through mission assignment or occupation.
1st Air Cavalry Brigade is on rotation to Europe as part of Atlantic Resolve.
The deployment of ready, combat-credible U.S. forces to Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve is evidence of the unbreakable U.S. commitment to NATO and Europe. Through bilateral, joint and multinational training, Atlantic Resolve builds readiness, increases interoperability and enhances the bond between ally and partner militaries.
The 1st Air Cavalry Brigade will be replaced later this year by the 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas.
For more information about Atlantic Resolve, visit https://www.EuropeAfrica.army.mil/AtlanticResolve.